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Young Algerian protester dies of injuries; police accused

April 21, 2019 at 3:55 pm

Thousands of students, doctors and civil servants stage a protest to demand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika step from power, in front of Central Post Office Square in Algiers, Algeria on 19 March 2019 [Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency]

A young Algerian protester has died from head injuries that his family and friends believe were caused by a police beating.

Friend and neighbour Lyes Lamara says that protester Yettou Ramzi died and was buried Friday after several days in an Algiers hospital.

The neighbour told The Associated Press that Ramzi was injured during pro-democracy protests April 10. That protest was the most violent in two months of overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations.

The neighbour says the family believes Ramzi was injured when police hit him on the head with truncheons.

Algiers police and the hospital where Ramzi was treated would not comment Saturday.

Protests and pressure from the army brought down Algeria’s longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika but demonstrators want deeper change.

OPINION: After Bouteflika, Algeria’s economy needs revival

Algerian state television reported Saturday that the finance minister and a former prime minister have been summoned for questioning in corruption investigations.

Former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia and Finance Minister Mohamed Loukal are expected to appear Sunday before the public prosecutor.

The move comes after the powerful military chief pressed for speedy prosecution of corruption cases. Anger at corruption is one of the drivers of the protest movement.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have asked the upper house of parliament to lift the immunity of two lawmakers who are close to Bouteflika, according to a senior member of Bouteflika’s FLN party. The legislators are suspected of embezzling state goods when they served as government ministers, according to the official.

READ: Algeria opposition announces plan to boycott elections